By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers
This week, I would like to share an Irish Style Extra Stout I picked up the week before St. Patrick’s Day. I like to stock up on the Irish styles around St. Patrick’s Day … must be my Irish heritage.
Traditionally, British and Irish stouts had some characteristic differences because of their base ingredients and brewing traditions, but the export versions of both were similar.
These stouts were brewed strong for the export market and were formulated for specific geographic regions and climates. The brewers relied on high alcohol content and a secondary fermentation in the cask or bottle, along with a higher hop bill, to ensure their product survived the long voyages. ABV (alcohol by volume) was in the 6 to 9 percent range, sometimes higher, depending on the market.
Schlafly Irish Style Extra Stout is brewed by the St. Louis Brewery in St. Louis. As I mentioned in a previous column, Schlafly has a solid portfolio of beers. This beer is a limited release beer, available January through March. Their website describes this beer as follows: “Our Irish-Style Extra Stout amplifies the traditional drier versions from Ireland for a bolder, black brew. The addition of both roasted barley and Dark Crystal malted barley give Extra Stout undertones of chocolate, molasses and dried fruit. The beer is generously hopped with East Kent Goldings to balance the sweetness from the malted barley.”
Proper serving is in a pint glass, beer snifter or Seidel Stein at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. This beer pours jet black, as dark as a moonless night, with a moderate amount of bubbles. A solid one-finger depth tan in color head fades quickly into a thin layer, almost disappearing completely.
The aroma is dark and roasty, almost burned with dark chocolate, toffee, a slight fruitiness of plums and some alcohol upon initial smell.
The first sip is very roasty, similar to the aroma, with dark chocolate, toffee and fruitiness. A hint of sweetness develops, then fades quickly, finishing dry, with some astringency lingering at the end, no doubt from the high amount of dark grains.
Alcohol warmth is present because of the 8 percent ABV. Mouth feel is thin to medium, with no carbonation bite, which is proper for this style. There is virtually no lacing produced on the glass, which is also proper for this style.
A decent beer overall, and is brewed to style, but not one I would not seek out, except during St. Patrick’s time. Remember, my Irish roots!
Schlafly makes some good beers, but this one is not on my top Schlafly list.
Michael Sears is president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a homebrewing club dedicated to the art of finely crafted beer. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Sreet. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to http://forestcitybrewers.org. If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted March 25, 2014